San Jose St. 37, Miami, Ohio 7
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Quarterback Mike Perez, showing no ill effects from a shoulder separation, threw three touchdown passes to pace the San Jose State Spartans to a 37-7 victory over Miami of Ohio in the California Bowl football game Saturday.
Perez, who led the nation in total offense this season with an average of 330 yards a game, nearly matched that with 291 yards on 21 pass completions in 37 attempts.
Miami’s hopes of matching San Jose’s high-powered offense were dashed as quarterback Terry Morris was intercepted four times.
Perez missed the final two regular season games with the injury to his throwing arm and was a questionable starter for the bowl game.
The Spartans, 10-2, earned the third straight victory by a Pacific Coast Athletic Association team over the Mid-American Conference representative and the fourth in six games.
The teams traded the lead through most of the first half with San Jose getting on top early via a 45-yard field goal by Sergio Olivarez.
Morris countered with a play-action pass to John Stofa for a 20-yard touchdown, the only time the Redskins, 8-4, were in front.
The Spartans reclaimed the lead in the second quarter as fullback James Saxon ran or caught the ball on six straight plays to grind out 19 yards and a touchdown.
San Jose increased its lead to 17-7 at halftime on a 36-yard pass from Perez to Guy Liggins, his longest reception of the season.
The Spartans piled up the margin in the second half as Lafo Malauulu caught a four-yarder for Perez’s second touchdown pass, and Perez and Liggins connected again for a 30-yard score.
Linebacker Chris Alexander converted the Spartans’ fourth interception of a Morris pass into a 39-yard touchdown return. The Spartans had a fifth interception against Mike Bates, who replaced Morris late in the game.
This victory was the first in the California Bowl for San Jose, which lost the inaugural game six years ago 27-25 to Toledo.